Weekly Australian Cattle Summary

AUSTRALIA - This report is a collection of weekly cattle price summaries from each Australian state by the Meat & Livestock Australia.
calendar icon 3 June 2011
clock icon 9 minute read
Meat & Livestock Australia

SA weekly cattle summary

Larger yardings

The larger yardings offered were not immune to the drop in prices, as the operating SA and interstate buyers lowered their prices once again. However, along with the increased numbers the varying quality offered was not helping. Feeder and restocker orders also able to purchase increased numbers at reduced prices. This could see numbers tighten with some producers preferring to wait until the next financial year before selling again.

The SALE offered a similar sized yarding in mixed quality runs that sold to soft competition, in a yarding that contained mainly young cattle and only small numbers of export categories.

Naracoorte's numbers for their first combined sale of the year were larger and also sold to a weaker trend provided by the usual SA, NSW and Victorian trade and processor buyers, with feeder and restocker orders a little more active due to the lower prices. Their numbers were boosted by a couple of processor orders for well bred Angus steers to feed on, and lightweight pastoral bred bulls to turn out for future kill. There was an Adelaide Hills wholesale order that created some interest as he sourced a small truck load of suitable vealer steers. In an interesting twist one pen of prime pastoral bred cows from Broken Hill topped the cow sale at 160¢/kg for around 540kg lwt.

Mt. Gambier's numbers rose, which apart from some lightweight vealer steers and heifers that attracted a dearer trend, followed the week's lower prices with the heavy cattle most affected.

Lower prices

Producers may not have been too happy with their prices, as the larger numbers offered attracted a weaker trend. Vealer steers to the trade sold from 200¢ to 260¢ with lightweight C3 sales 23¢ dearer and most others 3¢ to11¢/kg cheaper. Feeders and restockers sourced C2 light and medium weight steers from 197¢ to 230¢ or 2¢ to11¢/kg less. Vealer heifers to the trade sold from 185¢ to 258¢ with C3 lightweights at the higher end at rates 6¢ dearer, while most others were 1¢ to 18¢/kg cheaper. Yearling steer B and C muscled sales were from 175¢ to 230¢ or unchanged to 13¢/kg cheaper. Feeder and restocker orders sourced C2 and C3 medium and heavyweights from 170¢ to 215¢/kg at marginally dearer levels. Yearling heifer C3 and C4 medium and heavyweight sales were from 175¢ to 210¢ to be 6¢ to 13¢/kg lower. Pastoral bred heifers sold from 122¢ to 172¢/kg.

Grown steer C3 and C4 sales ranged between 165¢ and 209¢ to be unchanged to 18¢ cheaper, and averaging close to 340¢/kg cwt. The D3 to C6 medium and heavy beef cows sold from 129¢ to 162¢ at prices unchanged to 13¢ cheaper, or 270¢ to 310¢/kg cwt.

NSW weekly cattle summary

Winter sets in

After the smaller yardings recently, the majority of markets reported by MLA's NLRS realised larger yardings. This resulted in total throughput increasing 16 per cent as Wagga, CTLX and Dubbo accounted for just over 40 per cent between them. A handful of markets were again hampered by rain in supply areas which impacted on cattle being yarded.

Follow up rain in many parts of the state was timely, with the moisture sure to lift producer's confidence as winter sets in. When compared to the corresponding period last year throughput was 11 per cent higher this week.

As winter has commenced and cooler weather sets in, quality at all centres was mixed as condition slips away. The young cattle, noticeable vealers have also lost the freshness of recent times. There has also been an increase in the number of 3 score heavy grown steers and bullocks rather than properly finished 4 scores.

All the regular buyers were present, however the larger numbers and decline in quality were factors behind competition waning. This resulted in a cheaper trend for most young cattle. Vealers ranged from firm through to over 10¢ cheaper for some lines as the yearlings generally sold to a similar trend. The gains made last week were not replicated as the EYCI slipped 8.75¢ on last week and 8.50¢ on this time last month to 387.50¢/kg cwt at the completion of Thursdays markets it remains 38.50¢/kg higher than this time last year. This is despite the current calculation having 28 per cent more cattle included.

Grown cattle prices stabilise

Restocker demand was again strong on selected lines, often underpinning the light young cattle market. Light vealer steers to restock were firm on 231¢, while the heifer portion eased 4¢ - to 209¢/kg. A good sized sample of vealer heifers to the trade were generally from 206¢ to 219¢/kg.

Light Yearling steers returning to the paddock were 4¢ cheaper on 220¢/kg, mainly due to larger numbers and reduced quality. Medium weight feeder steers slipped 5¢ - to 209¢ after sales topped at 239¢/kg. Heavy feeder steer were also 5¢ lower, averaging around 200¢, while the portion to the trade settled on 203¢/kg. Yearling heifers to feed were firm on 198¢, while restockers paid to a top of 210¢/kg for medium weight lines. Feeder demand was strong on heavy yearling heifers as prices jumped 19¢ - to 204¢, while the drafts to processor sold closer to 194¢/kg.

Grown steer quality was back slightly, yet prices managed to maintain a firm trend. The medium weights to feed mainly sold from 186¢ to 200¢, while the heavy grown steers gained 3¢ - to 198¢/kg. The C4 bullocks were 6¢ dearer on 190¢/kg. Medium weight cows lifted 7¢ - to 140¢ and the heavy drafts ranged from 145¢ to 151¢/kg.

WA weekly cattle summary

Good follow up rain in south

Much of the state received further good rain across several days this week as more fronts crossing the coast. Falls were wide spread and the added moisture has aided pasture growth with good germinations reported across the Agricultural districts. Temperatures in the southern parts of the states have remained mild including nights with producers hopeful that cold temperatures will stay away aiding crop and pasture growth with bulk now needed. Despite the rainfall and good germinations supplementary feeding remains a must.

Further heavy falls of rain are still needed to create run off into water storage with many remaining low following from the long dry spell seen over the past twelve months. The pastoral areas continue to enjoy very solid seasonal conditions with good feed levels still being reported with mustering activity continuing across much of the north.

The majority of calving has now been completed in the south. The rainfall of the past couple of weeks has encouraged producers to hang onto cattle and subsequently there were fewer total numbers in southern yards.

Muchea was the largest of the markets and included increased numbers of pastoral cattle, while the Great Southern yarding was well down. As has been the case in recent times the numbers of trade and heavy weight steers and heifers remained very tight. Cow volumes were down also with fewer supplies of young store grades yarded. Processor demand was more conservative, while feeder demand remained similar.

Cow market retreats

Vealers numbers remained tight with most confined to lightweights. Demand from the local trade and restocker sectors remained at similar levels. Trade weight yearling volumes were negligible with quality mixed. Demand was again from both the local processing and feeder sectors with both heifers and steers realising similar rates to those seen the previous week. There was less weight and quality in the smaller store categories this week. Generally heavier feeder grades saw similar values, but despite this heifers did realise cheaper prices at the Great Southern sale later in the week. Lightweight grades on the other hand saw an increase in south western restocker activity and these enjoyed increased demand and rates.

Heavy weight grown steers and bullocks recorded a similar trade demand, while heavy weight grown heifers suffered from weaker processor interest and lost the gains of last week.

This was also the case in heavy weight cow classes, despite there being fewer supplies available. Generally the market eased between 4¢ to 5¢/kg. Heavy weight bull sales were down by a similar amount also with lightweights encountering weaker live export competition.

VIC weekly cattle summary

Numbers lift

A 20 per cent increase in supply at MLA's NLRS reported markets was met with less competition, and at times very mixed demand. The general trend was for prices to ease, generally by 4¢ to 10¢/kg. However, some categories suffered greater reductions, which was derived in part by plainer quality. This trend was also evident across other states as the EYCI slipped 8.75¢ to 387.50¢/kg cwt at the completion of Thursday's markets.

While prices were lower, some cattle sold firm, but at Bairnsdale, vealers were dearer, particularly the light and medium weights. These cattle though did suffer large falls of 20¢ to 30¢ last week, but they retrieved all of this, and more with extra competition form NSW abattoirs evident this week. While weight of numbers was an issue, feedlot and restocker competition aided some higher prices for suitable young cattle, while it was mostly the trade processors that paid less.

This scenario was not restricted to young cattle with grown steers, grown heifers, bullocks and cows all selling to weaker demand. It appears as though export processors are not in a position to increase employment leading into winter, and consequently are currently operating at, or over capacity for their current employment levels. It is thought that here is not an export works currently slaughtering five days a week in Victorian.

Prices for grown cattle were generally 3¢ to 5¢/kg cheaper, and although some plainer quality was to blame, there were some very good quality cattle offered. It was the plainer quality lines that were met with greater price discounts.

A cheaper trend

There were some excellent quality vealers that made between 235¢ and 261¢/kg as a reasonable size consignment of 40 vealers from Cann River in East Gippsland, sold very well. At Pakenham a pen of excellent quality supplementary fed steers and heifers sold to the top of 264¢/kg. Most vealers though made between 180¢ and 235¢, while the yearlings sold from 175¢ to 200¢/kg. Due to the large variations in quality though there was a reasonable number of young cattle that made from 150¢ to 175¢/kg.

Grown steers made between 180¢ and 195¢, while bullocks made mostly from 172¢ to 192¢/kg. However, because of varying demand between selling centres some sold as low as 168¢/kg. There were some crossbred bullocks weighing 1074kg lwt which returned 114¢/kg at Leongatha. Most manufacturing steers sold between 162¢ and 184¢/kg.

The quality beef and dairy cows made from 135¢ to 158¢ with isolated sales to 172¢/kg. Most plainer lines range from 85¢ to 135¢, and some very poor condition cows sold from 65¢ to 105¢/kg. This created a cheaper carcase weight price average of 279¢/kg.

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